When a person dies, someone has to deal with the Deceased's affairs. This is called ‘administering the estate'.

The person or persons responsible for administering the deceased's Estate are called Personal Representatives.  When there is a Will the Personal Representative is the Executor named in the Will; in the absence of a Will (or if the Executor named in a Will is unwilling or unable to act) then the Personal Representative is known as the Administrator.  The duties of either an Executor or Administrator depend largely on the nature of the Deceased's Estate. 

Responsibilities of Personal Representatives

Personal Representatives are responsible for ensuring that the Estate is administered correctly and lawfully.  As a result, the Personal Representative is personally liable to the Beneficiaries of the Estate and any other persons claiming to be due money from the Estate.  If there is a Will, the Personal Representative must make sure that the wishes of the Deceased, as set out in their Will, are followed.  If there is no Will, you must follow the rules of Intestacy as set out in the Administration of Estates Act 1925. 

If you are concerned about your duties and responsibilities as a Personal Representative we will be more than happy to discuss this with you further.

How long does it take?

The timescale of any Probate administration is entirely dependent upon the nature and complexity of the estate.  An estate with one or two bank accounts will be much quicker than an estate with multiple properties, foreign assets and complex investments.  You should expect the simplest Probates to take in the region of 12-16 weeks.  The majority of Probates are completed within 6-12 months from the date we commence work.  Some exceptionally complex cases can take longer than 12 months to finalise.  

Our costs

Our costs may vary depending on the size and complexity of dealing with a particular Estate.  Our minimum charge for a simple estate is £3,000 + vat & disbursements, should an IHT form be required for the Estate the minimum charge will be £3,500 + vat & disbursements.  We will set our cost rate by agreement with the Personal Representative at the outset of the matter.  The fixed fee we will quote you at the outset of the matter will take into account factors including: nature of assets (land/bank accounts/shares etc); the amount of different assets; foreign assets; the requirement for Inheritance Tax Returns; number of beneficiaries etc (not an exhaustive list) as these are all matters that we undertake on your behalf.  To assist you in budgeting and understanding our fees, our fixed fees for a full Probate Service (quoted on a case by case basis) will typically be:

Full Probate Service (notifying institutions, obtaining valuations, completion of Inheritance Tax forms and Probate Application, collecting assets, discharging liabilities and distributing the net estate)

Minimum Charge  - £3,000 + vat @ 20% (£3,600) plus disbursements (see below), with IHT form £3,500 + vat @ 20% (£4,200) plus disbursements (see below)

Where the Firm is NOT the Executor - typically 1.5% of the gross value of the Estate + vat @ 20% and disbursements (for example a £500,000 estate would be £7,500+vat (£9,000) plus disbursements)

Where the Firm IS the Executor - typically 1.75% of the gross value of the Estate + vat @ 20% and disbursements (for example a £500,000 estate would be £8,750 + vat (£10,500) plus disbursements)

Probate only Service (when we limit our service to simply completing the Probate Application)  

£1,250 + vat @ 20% (£1,500) plus disbursements

If an IHT form is required for the Probate only Service we will charge an additional £250 + vat @ 20% (£300) to the standard fee


These are expenses that we pay on your behalf but do not form part of our fees.  Disbursements, as they are not our fees, do not attract VAT.  You will however find them deducted from monies we hold during the Probate process.  Typical Probate Disbursements include:

Probate Court Fee    £273 (plus court sealed copies of the Grant of Representation @£1.50 per copy).

Certainty Will Search (optional)  £126 and £58.50 to check if there is a Will

Trustee Act Notices in newspapers (optional)  £250 (estimated)

Bankruptcy Searches £2 per beneficiary 

Land Registry Fees - dependant on nature of transaction and value of Property 

What is not included?

The above fee scales are guidance in relation to the administration of the estate.  Where extra costs are likely to be incurred, we would always advise you before they can become payable.  You would have the opportunity to discuss with your Lawyer first.  Typical examples of Legal work that are not included in the above quotes are:

Electronic Transfers of large sums of money (typically £25+vat @20% plus the Bank Fee of £17 (no Vat) totalling £47 per transfer)

Acting for you defending a Claim brought against the Estate - this is separate legal work to be provided by a Litigator

Varying the Will - this would be charged as a separate fee (typically £450+vat @20%= £540)

Conveyancing Services for the Sale of any Property in the estate (see our Conveyancing page for fee scales)

Contact us on 01803 313656 or email [email protected]

Contact the Probate team

Ben Darby

Ben Darby


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Jonathan Parker

Jonathan Parker


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Stephanie Sutherland

Stephanie Sutherland


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